Here's what happened. I checked the incubator as usual before bedtime and noted the tiny cracks where a hatchling had started to peck through a spot in one goose egg. My experience to date with goose eggs is it's usually a couple of days from that point to total emergence. Imagine my surprise when I awoke the next morning to find an empty shell in that spot and a fluffy, demanding gosling on the other side. It was sprawled across a row of duck eggs and gazing up at me with love in its tiny, beady eyes. I held it and nuzzled it for a while -- seriously, who could resist all that soft yellow fuzz and those happy baby sounds? I arranged an old towel across the little brooder box I have for the new hatchlings -- terrycloth offers much better footing than newspaper. I tried the usual tricks I'd used with the occasional splay-legged chick before, but let's face it, a goose is a lot bigger than a chicken, and even a first-day gosling outweighs a new chick by . . . well, a lot. So the early tricks didn't work.
Still, I can't just give up on something this cute. Especially when it thinks I'm its mommy and makes happy noises every time it sees me. So a couple times a day, I haul the little fuzzball out to the cow trough for a swim where the water's deep enough to give those legs a good workout. Physical therapy for the crippled little goose. Sigh. This morning it was just too cold for the cow trough -- and face it, the bathtub would work, but then there's all that scrubbing afterwards. So I had the brilliant idea of just plunking Spraddles into a bucket of warm water for a quick PT session.
Well, you can see how that turned out. The little brat loved that bucket. It hooked its tiny webbed feet on the edge . . . wriggled . . . floated . . . and peeped with joy. It was freakishly hilarious.
So, on to the next experiment. I found a webpage with great pictures for taping tiny chick legs into position to cure splay legs. We're going to try it with Spraddles. I'll let you know how it turns out.